New USDA Dietary Guidelines released

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services last week released the final 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans,

Servings of lean meat, poultry, eggs and dairy remain in the newly established 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The DGA’s are broken into three diet plans: healthy U.S. style eating pattern, healthy Mediterranean style eating pattern and the healthy vegetarian eating pattern.

“The Dietary Guidelines provide a clear path for the general public, as well as policy makers and health professionals and others who reach the public, to help Americans make healthy choices, informed by a thoughtful, critical and transparent review of the scientific evidence on nutrition,” said representatives for USDA and HHS.

These recommendations will be pivotal in the education components of health professionals, federal food and education programs, along with serving as a manual for registered dieticians. Five overarching guidelines include:

  • follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan,
  • focus on a variety, nutrient-dense foods and amount,
  • limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats to no more than 10% of total calories and sodium to no more than 2,300 milligrams per day,
  • choose healthy foods and beverages and
  • support healthy eating patterns for all.

The National Pork Producers Council voiced support for the guidelines. A review of the guidelines shows they are narrowly focused on nutrition — much more so than previous iterations. The recommendation on consuming protein calls for “a variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), and nuts, seeds, and soy products.”

The Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) of various food groups are largely unchanged from the 2010 guidelines. The guidelines do recommend that less than 10% of daily calories come from saturated fat and call out meat, processed meat and meat dishes as major sources of saturated fat. But the guidelines indicate that sticking to the RDAs should meet the recommendation on saturated fat. The guidelines also note that people aren’t getting enough potassium, calcium, vitamin D, iron and dietary fiber and single out meat as the best source of iron and pork as a source of vitamin D.

The bottom line according to NPPC is that meat remains an important part of the American diet. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans do not contain any provisions that should drive federal, institutional or consumer shifts away from meat as the major protein source in diets, and they do not include extraneous matters, such as requiring food producers to meet sustainability standards or taxing certain foods as a way to reduce their consumption.

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans is available at

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